EMDR therapy was discovered in 1987. It is a psycho-therapeutic model for the integration of the cognitive-thinking, emotional-feeling, and physical aspects of the whole person. The process of EMDR deals with the past, present and future simultaneously.
In EMDR therapy the theory is that the brain stores information about every experience we have. If the experience is a traumatic one, the memory can be stored in a dysfunctional way. When we experience a situation it is this damaged material that is unconsciously tapped into which creates dysfunctional emotional and physical responses. This can cause increased anxiety, panic attacks and avoidance of similar situations.
Bilateral stimulation is the basis of EMDR Therapy. This consist of alternating left-right stimulation of the body and brain. During EMDR the person focuses on an internal state such as an image, a memory, or a physical sensation. The left side and the right side of the body, and simultaneously the left side and the right sides of the lobes in the brain, are being stimulated with alternating sequences through various tones heard through a set of headphones. This activates the brain to begin to process and integrate any dysfunctional information of locked traumatic memories. The speed and intensity of the stimulation can be varied depending on what feels right for the individual and what seems to be the most therapeutically effective.
Trauma responses happen when you experience a very emotional situation and at the time of the event you are unable to process the information. This can leave you feeling distressed. The symptoms linger and will not go away. The events that can cause a trauma can seem to be trivial ones such as bullying or abandonment, or they can be large ones such as assault or rape.
EMDR can help with many issues due to trauma at all levels. Some of the issues that can be dealt with include anxiety, depression, panic, dysfunctional body image, lack of assertiveness, procrastination, sabotaging behaviors, frustration or anger, loss of interest, addictions, concentration problems, self-abusive behaviors, and suicidal thoughts. This type of therapy can also help with physical illness due to dysfunctional memories. Some changes with EMDR can be extreme and bring about great relief and some are more subtle.
Our feelings and thoughts are reflected through what we communicate and our behaviors. An event you experience may seem benign to you but later will create an unconscious physical or emotional response that seemed from out of nowhere. EMDR can help you to recreate and change the dysfunctional information gathered by your brain at the original experience to a healthier response. Working with the mind and the body, EMDR therapy works to integrate the whole person.
Many people suffer from psychological issues due to traumatic events they experienced in their past. The psychological issues are due to the dysfunctional information about the event that was stored in the brain. EMDR therapy can help release the memories associated with a traumatic event to help alleviate and heal both the mind and body.